(Photo: Lakewood Church)
Former Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole joined pastor and author Joel Osteen to honor military caregivers during a worship service at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Sunday.
Dole addressed the megachurch congregation to talk about her foundation's efforts to honor the estimated 5.5 million military and veteran caregivers.
"I am deeply grateful and touched that pastor Osteen has joined our national coalition. He was the first to respond when we put out a call to the faith communities for help in supporting our military and veteran caregivers," stated Dole.
"Pastor Osteen and his lovely wife, Victoria, provide hope and inspiration to so many individuals across our great nation, and they will do so now for our nation's 5.5 million military caregivers. I am excited about the positive change we can make in the lives of our hidden heroes, together."
Dan Gregory, spokesman from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, provided The Christian Post with comments from Dole about the experience, including the contributions that Osteen has made toward the effort to support military caregivers.
"Joel Osteen Ministries also collaborated with the foundation to provide resources and materials to its network of nearly 400 churches to encourage them to address the issues in their local communities," said Dole.
"Pastor Osteen also unveiled a new ministry dedicated to military caregivers that will serve as a model for other communities of faith across the nation."
Dole added that the service held Sunday for the caregivers "was inspirational and deeply moving, particularly for the foundation's caregiver fellows and their families who attended."
"I refer to them as hidden heroes because of the quiet service they provide our nation, while receiving little recognition and support," said Dole.
"Pastor Osteen's faith message spoke directly to caregivers across the country, emphasizing that those who care for others are living out miracles in their service to their fellow man."
Earlier this month, Dole joined First Lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and former first lady Rosalynn Carter at the White House for the annual Joining Forces event at the White House, to announce her foundation's coalition, which is called, "Hidden Heroes: The National Coalition for Military Caregivers."
Joining Forces, a program that has been active for three years, aims to provide resources for wounded veterans and their families. Some of these resources are available at caregiver.va.gov or militaryonesource.mil.
Initiatives connected to Joining Forces include training 10,000 peer mentors, 50 trainers and 10 master trainers for a peer mentorship program, implementing a series of bi-monthly online seminars, and launching a website to provide caregivers with free financial, legal and social resources.
Dole explained to CP that Lakewood Church was an active collaborator on the project in the months leading up to the White House event earlier in April.
"Pastor Osteen serves a leading voice of faith in the foundation's national coalition," she added. "The April 27 service kicked off a wonderful collaboration between Lakewood Church and the foundation in challenging other communities of faith to sign on."
"We look forward to continuing our association with Pastor Joel and Victoria Osteen long into the future."